Pasta Alla Norma

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 Vidalia onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 (16-ounce) can tomato puree

1 cup chicken broth

Coarse sea salt

Red pepper flakes, to taste

1 eggplant, cubed

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 (1-pound) box dried penne rigate

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup ricotta salata, shaved into strips with a peeler

Few fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, for garnish


  1. To make the spicy marinara sauce: Combine the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, tomato puree, and broth in a large, deep saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/3. Add the salt, and red pepper flakes, to taste.
  2. For the eggplants: Heat 4 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, and fry the eggplant. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt. 
  3. Stir the cooked eggplant into the marinara sauce. Keep the sauce warm.
  4. For the pasta: 
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, and add it to the marinara sauce. Stir in the grated cheeses. 
  6. Divide the pasta among the plates and top with a strip of ricotta salata and some fresh basil.